The College of Visual & Performing Arts recently welcomed 145 of the state’s most creative high school juniors to Art All-State Massachusetts. CVPA partnered with the Massachusetts Art Education Association and the New Bedford Museum/ArtWorks! to host the intensive two-day experience.
Sixteen practicing artists/mentors introduced the students to careers in the arts, to downtown New Bedford’s rich arts community, and to the varied opportunities that are available to them in the greater creative community.
To gain inspiration for their own creative work, students investigated art on display at the renowned Bierstadt exhibit and other exhibitions at the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! Students also visited current exhibits at CVPA's Star Store. Small groups toured the New Bedford Whaling Museum and local galleries such as Paradise McFee and the Alison Wells Gallery, while other groups visited the sea flower sculpture outside the Federal Building.
The student artists explored the theme of "Limits: No Limits" to solve creative problems and collaborate on installation art pieces using limited materials and time constraints.
Tackling universal ideas
"We continue to utilize the overall theme of "Limits: No Limits" which emphasizes the greatness that can be achieved in a limited period of time, with limited materials, but endless possibilities," said Kristi Oliver, assistant professor of art education, who coordinated the event.
"In all of the studios, students tackled sophisticated, contemporary themes rooted in universal ideas such as sustainability, life journeys, life cycles, narrative, grief, transition, and environment."
Learning about art for public spaces
Tape artist Michael Townsend and his team installed a temporary mural in the CVPA Atrium. Known for his extensive drawings in tape, Townsend has been an integral part of Art All-State for over twenty years and delivered one of the event’s artist talks.
"We value the Tape Art crew’s willingness to inspire our students with fun and creative stories of what life is like as artists who create temporary work in public spaces," said Oliver.
Celebrating two days of collaborative art-making
The Art All-State experience culminated in a reception and exhibition of the work the students created. The program also addressed parents’ questions about careers in the arts.
"The event was incredibly successful," said Oliver. "Next year will be Art All-State's 30th anniversary, and we’re hoping to add programming for program alumni along with workshops and events for art teachers across the state."
Participating artists/mentors were CVPA alumni Andy Bell, Elizabeth Dooher, Meghan Gates, Cuong Sy, and Brett Sylvia, and artists Christopher Charbonneau, Rebekah Flake, YoAhn Han, Nancy Grace Horton, Rosa Ibarra, C.M. Judge, Cathy McLaurin, Kristen Mills, JoeJoe Orangias, Alex Romania, and Emily Smith. Andy Bell and Alex Romania were Art All-State participants themselves in the late 1990s.